"Tomorrow would actually close down thousands of transportation projects around the country," he said. "Transportation departments around the country were on the verge of sort of handing out IOUs or shutting down. Probably millions would have been put out of work if we hadn't acted."
Lawmakers are expected to approve a bill that would spend more than $50 billion per year on road and transit projects to avert an interruption in transportation funding that had been scheduled to occur on June 30.
The sentiment expressed by Mica was echoed Friday by his counterpart in the contentious negotiations between the House and Senate on the transportation bill, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).
In a speech of her own, Boxer said on the floor of the Senate: "I'm not going to go home until this is done."
This post was updated from an earlier version at 5:28 p.m. to clarify Rep. Mica's reference.
—Daniel Strauss contributed to this report.